Building Your Company’s Culture in the Moment

Scenario: You witness a situation at work and it is clearly evident that this will lead to a culture-killer for your company.  What do you do?

Most people do one of 3 things:

1. DO NOTHING.  Look the other way.  Ignore what you’re seeing, hearing, and feeling.

2. JOIN IN.  This is the mob mentality.  “A riot is an ugly thing…I think it’s high time we have one!” (Young Frankenstein). This only fuels the fires of negativity.

3. PROMOTE, PRACTICE, and PROTECT the culture.

in the moment

Easy. It’s just as easy to not act as it is to act.  Just like losing weight or exercising or reading or being intentional in a relationship….it’s easy to do something and it’s not easy to do something

 

Fear.  We fear taking a stand.  We fear retribution from our peers (“who does he think he is?!”)

Deflection. “It’s not my job.  I’m not a manager, VP, CEO…”

Since when is protecting our culture the sole responsibility of a supervisor?

hey

 

Self-worth“Who am I to say something/take a stand?”

Too many times, we don’t take a stand because of what we say to ourselves.

  • “I’m just a line worker/entry-level accountant/etc.  I have no authority.”
  • “People will make fun or treat me differently.  I don’t want to risk that.”
  • “I’ve only been with the company for 6 months.  I don’t know enough to speak up.”
  • “I’m an idiot.  I should shut up.”

Please realize that there are people who applied for your position and did not get it.    YOU are in!  YOU made it.  YOU are worthy!  Your company believes in YOU.

But in order for your company’s culture to grow and be cultivated, each team member has to make the right decision at those critical moments.

  • And every time you and I stand up to PROMOTE, PRACTICE, AND PROTECT our culture, we build momentum.
  • And when momentum builds, it becomes the norm.
  • We raise our standards.
  • We don’t settle.
  • We refuse to live to the lowest common denominator.
  • The culture becomes alive.
  • WE become the culture.

 

protect your culture

Outdo One Another…

valentine day

Today is Valentine’s Day.  Here in the US, that means there will be lots of flowers and chocolates and cards given.  Restaurants will be packed with lovers.

 

All this brought to mind a verse from the Bible.  It is in Romans 12:10:

“Love one another in brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Now, you may not be a person a faith.  That’s ok.  Stay with me here.

I often tell people who ask that I like my job and love the people I work with.  It’s true.  I’m not perfect in this, but most days and in most moments, it’s true.  It’s what drives me to serve them, to push them to be their best, to cheer them on.

But I want to focus on the second part of this verse – “Outdo one another in showing honor.”

What would happen to your company culture if the majority of the team did exactly this?  I know many of us seem to be in competitions with each other within our companies.  People strive to be the top dog in sales.  Project leaders are looking to excel more than the last project manager.

But what if we all started striving to “outdo one another in showing honor.”  How would conversations sound differently?  How would meetings be run?  How would conversations about someone who is not present sound (would those conversations stop?)?  How would even casual interactions change for the better? How would your company’s culture change?

So, on this Valentine’s Day, I challenge you and me to work to outdo one another in showing honor.  I think this could have a positive, systemic effect in your workplace.  It can become a place where we honor, respect, and appreciate each other.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

TRANSFORMATION in 2020 by Jim Johnson

We are fast approaching 2020.  Many of us are looking ahead and formulating new goals and direction.  Resolutions will be made.  Later they will be broken.

What causes us to do this year after year? And when so many of us fail to follow through?

  • Lack of discipline?
  • Incorrect goals?
  • This is more than wishful thinking?

Why do we even set goals for ourselves?

  • To feel better about ourselves?
  • To make others value us more?
  • Societal pressure?
  • Advertising pressure?

Let’s look at health goals.  Millions of people right now are thinking about their health goals for 2020.  Losing weight.  Eating healthy foods.  Exercise. Reduce medication.  Those are all great and noble goals.

But for millions, these goals will be a fading thought very early in the year.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is said to be about 80 percent, and most lose their resolve by mid-February.

People will lose the desire to do what it takes to meet their goals.  A warm cinnamon roll on a frigid February morning will win the day, and the slippery slope from that fresh baked goodness will loom large.  Within days, health goals can be obliterated.  “Oh, well, next year.”

Look back on your life 1 year ago.  Reflect on this:

  • How am I healthier today?
  • How have I grown as a person, parent, spouse, leader in the past year?
  • How has my spiritual life developed?
  • How has my financial wellness improved?

“Well, ummm, I guess I’m really the same as I was back then.  Actually, I’ve been this way for years.”

See, becoming better is not simply a matter of desire.  Who doesn’t want to become healthier?  More in tune spiritually?  A better mom/dad/person?  More secure financially?

We all do.

So what’s missing when we set goals and resolutions yet fail to follow-through so quickly?

What we need is TRANSFORMATION.

Transformation definition

Let’s break this definition down:

  • Profound – very great or intense.
  • Radical – very different from the usual, sometimes to the extreme
  • Change – not the same as before
  • New direction – turn around and head on a different path
  • More effective – results, better results, life-changing results

 

Allow me some liberty here.  When I think of TRANSFORMATION, I think of the word repentance.  When someone repents, there are 2 actions required:

  1. Turning away from something.
  2. Turning to something/someone.

To truly change your life (health, relationships, development, finances, etc.), this sense of repentance needs to be applied.

Health:  I am turning from foods that harm me.  I am turning to foods that heal.

Relationships:  I am turning from behaviors that harm others.  I am turning to behaviors that build bridges and create peace.

Finances:  I am turning from undisciplined spending.  I am turning to creating a plan to move me towards freedom.

Personal Development:  I am turning from haphazardly moving through life.  I am turning to intentional ways to grow.

Do you see the difference?

Let’s explore how TRANSFORMATION can happen in your life.  Today, it is December 21, 2019.  Think ahead to December 21, 2020.

  • How will you feel if you truly TRANSFORMED your life?
  • What kind of results would you realize?
  • How will your health, spiritual life, relationships, finances, etc. all become better as a result of TRANSFORMATION?
  • See yourself having improved these key areas of life. Visualize you being in a “profound, radically” different place.  Do you like what you see?  Doesn’t this excite you?

Fact: you can TRANSFORM your life.  You can!  In the posts to come, let’s learn and discover how TRANSFORMATION can become possible in our lives.  I need it!  I bet you do, too.

In the posts that follow, let’s learn together how we can TRANSFORM our lives.  We’ll explore the TRANSFORMATION definition, creating habits, the power of documenting your progress in a journal, accountability, the idea that TRANSFORMATION is not a one-and-done proposition…and so much more.  I’ll great resources that I’ve read/listened to  from great people.

Do you want to remain the same person you’ve been for years (decades)?  I don’t.  True change requires TRANSFORMATION.

Join me in the journey!  Let’s become better.

metamorphosis

20 Ways to Become Better as a Leader by Jim Johnson

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  1. Set meaningful personal goals and work on them every day.
  2. Practice gratitude every day.
  3. Do random acts of kindness.
  4. Read inspiring, challenging books every day.
  5. Listen to inspiring podcasts.
  6. Follow impactful leadership blogs.
  7. Find and meet with a mentor.
  8. Mentor someone.
  9. Network with other leaders.
  10. Volunteer your time in your community.
  11. Do more than expected at work.
  12. Intentionally meet new leaders in your community.
  13. Write someone a personal note of appreciation.
  14. Say “please” and “thank you”.
  15. Open the door for others.
  16. Smile more.
  17. Listen more than you speak.
  18. Spend time with family and friends.
  19. Laugh – don’t take yourself too seriously.
  20. Develop positive self-talk.

Seek Clarity

In his new book, High Performance Habits, Brendon Burchard speaks about seeking clarity in Habit 1.  I shared this exercise with my Emerging Leader group yesterday.  I thought you might like to read this as well:

  1.  Describe (write it down) how you’ve perceived yourself in the following situations over the past several months – with your significant other, at work, with the kids or your team, in social situations with strangers.
  2. Now ask, “Is that who I really see myself being in the future?”  How would my future self look, feel, and behave differently in those situations? (note: think about how your future self would want to interact in ways that you would be proud of)
  3. If you could describe yourself in just 3 aspirational words – words that would sum up who you are at your best in the future – what would those words be?  Why are those words meaningful to you?  Once you find your words, put them in your phone as an alarm label that goes off several times per day.

I worked through this exercise myself.  I jotted down several things and finally landed on my 3 aspirational words.  I created a calendar event that displays these 3 words at 5:45 am, 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm every day.

Already, there are many times when I see those words and I am reminded to be my best and do my best to act out on these words.  It works.  What a great reminder.

Try it. In fact, order the book and start working your own high performance habits (link to the book is provided above). Begin working on becoming better.  You will not regret it.

high performance habit quote

Thanking a Mentor

This week, a significant leader/mentor in my life will turn 80 years old.  At the recent Global Leadership Summit, we were challenged by Bill Hybels to reach out to those who helped mold our leadership skills and tell them “thank you”.  This morning, I wrote a letter to this leader.  Here is an excerpt from that letter:

leadership legacy

I just wanted to say “thank you” once again for all that you’ve done for me in my life.  I am often asked who was a major influencer.  Your name tops the list (after my parents).  Here’s why:

  • You taught me that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
  • You taught me to be flexible. “There is always a way.”  I believed you, acted on it, and found your words to be true.
  • You taught me to think on my feet.
  • You taught me to be direct.
  • You taught me how to sell.
  • You taught me how to work a crowd.
  • You taught me how to produce.
  • You taught me how to get along with others who are vastly different than I am.
  • You allowed me to be me.
  • You pushed me to be excellent and then to become better.
  • You taught me how to speak in front of 10 and 10,000.
  • You allowed me to be creative and gave me room to do it.
  • You showed me that leaders can open up to confidants.
  • You taught me to set high standards and not to lower them.
  • You gave me the opportunity to be exposed to cultures all over the world.
  • You showed me how to celebrate the “wins” of your team. You always were delighted to hear our stories from the road.
  • You taught me that consistent discipline works.
  • You showed me that the leader’s dream can be infectious.
  • You taught me that I am capable of far more than I thought I was.
  • You introduced me to the world, and now I have friends all over the planet.
  • You believed in me. I can’t thank you enough for that.

So, who in your life could you “thank” for helping you? It really takes moments to craft a letter.  But you will encourage a mentor in ways you cannot imagine.

They invested in you.  Invest in them today.  Thank a Mentor.

Become More Valuable

A few days ago, I shared how to create a great customer experience.  Today, I want to use those same steps to show you how you can become more valuable – to add value – to your team and others in your company.

LISTEN

When a team member or colleague brings you an issue, problem, concern, question…take time to truly listen to what it is they are saying.  Don’t jump to a conclusion or give them a fast answer.  Listen carefully.

ASK

Ask great questions to get to the core issue.  Avoid asking yes/no questions or “why” questions.  Asking great questions will get you to their core issue the fastest.  It also demonstrates that you are actively listening to them.

FEEL

If the person in front of you is frustrated, angry, tense, etc., take the time to empathize with them.  Don’t merely sympathize (“oh, I’m sorry”).  Don’t make light of their situation (“today sucks to be you!”).  Feel what they are feeling and identify with that.

THINK

Once you have the core issue clarified, think.  What resources do you have that can help resolve your team member’s issue?  What resources do you know about that can help?  Who else can you call on for assistance?  Think.

ACT

Once you’ve listened carefully, asked great questions, empathized with the person, and really thought about the best way to help, then (AND ONLY THEN) act.  Far too often people jump into action too quickly.  Act with intention and purpose.

FOLLOW-UP

Following up a couple of days later says that you care about how the resolution is working or not working for the person you helped.  This can be a great learning opportunity for you.  It will create stronger relationships at work as you demonstrate your willingness and ability to invest in someone else.

Make your work interactions better.  Follow this process to add value to your team and your company.

Remember, when you get better, your company gets better.

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